Why I’m not taking a camera on the Camino

I have a cute little 5MP Kodak I bought about 6 years ago with a great wide-angle lens, but I’m not bringing it. This might not make sense, considering all that I might see over six weeks on foot.

Here’s my reasoning:

I don’t want to be a spectator
Something happens to me when I have a camera in my hand. It happens in my heart. I start judging everything through the filter of whether it looks good or not. Will it make a good photo. As I do this, I can feel my heart shut down. I’ve seen other people do this too — they’re missing the whole experience around them because they’re looking through that tiny hole. Or 1 inch screen. On this trip, I don’t want distance. I want to be vibrantly present as I walk. I want to feel the earth under me. The air on my face. The scent of plowed soil. The smiles on faces whose language I’ll never speak. All of it. I want to spend my evenings being present with those around me and connecting, rather than reviewing the day’s photos, head down, oblivious.

I don’t want to be a slave to the electrical outlet
From what I’ve read, every evening at the albergues there’s a line up at the few plugs available. Cameras, cell phones, MP3 players all hook in to the juice. I don’t want to worry about whether it’s been stolen and, knowing me, I’d be hovering around the wall plug waiting for a full battery sign instead of out experiencing life!

I don’t want to use more of this resource than necessary. The albergues are a frugal endeavor and I’d like to spare them the expense. I don’t need  a camera — or a cell phone for that matter. By claiming independence from electricity, I hope it will help me simplify my life at home.

I don’t want to carry it
And then there’s pack weight. At this writing, my goal is a pack under 20lbs (9kg) which may be terribly optimistic and still a little too heavy for me. Not taking my camera will decrease weight (batteries are heavy!) and spare me the cords, cards, and converter that keep the camera working.

I want a lighter load — both physically and energetically. I worry so much. I really do. My brain is good at it. Choosing not to carry a camera lightens my energetic load and helps me be present to my surroundings and my heart.

All that said
I might — just might — decide to carry a disposable camera with about 20 or so images. There may be a few things that are just too breathtaking to not capture. And this way, I can show my loved ones the highlights without subjecting them to a days-long slide show. Maybe.

One thought on “Why I’m not taking a camera on the Camino

  1. I don’t think the pictures ever capture the real essence of anything anyway (at least not my camera and my lacking photography skills). But I do wish I could be a little bird on your shoulder for the trip! 🙂

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